Are you more mindful of what you eat when you are training for a race? Do you make any specific changes to your eating plan? If you do, what are some of the things you consider? When I started running in 2017, I saw it as great excuse to eat anything I wanted because “I’d earned it” and this quickly turned into poor eating habits. But I changed my whole approach when I started training for the Soweto Half Marathon. Focusing on nutrition actually became one of my training goals and so far I’ve made great progress. My friend Taffy who guest blogged some lovely winter soup recipes a few months ago is currently training for her first big race. In today’s post, she shares some great tips on nutrition (as well as some gorgeous food ideas) that we should keep in mind as we are training. Enjoy!
So it’s Spring and I have roughly two months to get ready for the 10 km Soweto Race!! Not a big deal to some people but I feel like you should add another “0” after the “10” so that you can understand my levels of anxiety. When I’m stressed about something I eliminate any possibilities of failure by preparing for the big task ahead. So in this instance, that means training and eating right. The former may not go so well, but I can control what I put in my body. So here are four difficult rules I’ll be following leading up to 4th November 2018.
1 – What should I eat on rest and easy training days? Easier days require less carbohydrates to fuel your training. On the easy days it is important to prioritise protein, fats, and mixed vegetables over carbs. It is also important to have a protein-rich breakfast, which may also reduce hunger for the rest of the morning. High protein meals help with the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Increased vegetable and fruit intake with each meal helps to reduce the damage from the previous day’s training and may subsequently reduce muscle soreness.
2 – What should I eat on normal training days? Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel for endurance training, so as your training increases so should your carb intake. On normal training days, one should have a moderate intake of carbs. A serving of carbs should be included for two meals. This will ensure that the body is properly fuelled for training and that carbohydrate stores are refuelled after your run, ready for your next training session. If you have included carbs at breakfast and refuelled at lunch, it is not necessary to have a serving of carbs at dinner instead have a higher intake of protein, fats and vegetables.
3 – What should I eat on high intensity training days? On heavy training days you’ll need to pay close attention to hydration levels and up your carbohydrate intake. As a general rule, a serving should be included at all meal intakes, to top up muscle fuel levels. It’s important to increase carb intake, but not to forget to maintain both protein and fat intake with each meal. Be sure to include an evening snack containing protein, as this is vital to help your body recover from a heavy training day and assist muscle growth overnight, as this is when a large amount of growth and repair will occur in the muscles.
4 – Snacks for runners. Snacks can be consumed any time of day, but offer performance advantages when carefully timed before or after a run. The right food choices in the right portions provide a fuel boost. Sometimes, less is more which is why snacks are the perfect fit for runners.
Thank you Taffy for sharing these useful tips that are so often forgotten by both beginner and experienced runners. I am really looking forward to us running our first race together! I just know you are going to do amazing and I hope it will be the FIRST of many races. 🙂